Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Out with the Junk!

Happy Fat Tuesday! Let the good times roll.....at least for today that is. Each year prior to Lent I make the decision to give up something that is a favorite of mine. Lots of people do it. Some succeed and some don't. I usually give up sweets which has the benefit of letting me drop a few pounds. I am not a very nice person to be around the first week or so, though.

This year though I want to really do SOMETHING important that really makes me (and in turn, the family) get rid of the junk that is called processed foods that invades just about every diet in the country whether we know it or not. We are not huge junk food eaters. We're more "convenience" foods eaters at least once or twice each week. Maybe even more than that when my busy season cranks up which will be here in just a few short weeks. By convenience foods I mean those ever so yummy (insert sarcasm here) Lean Cuisines, Stoffers, Marie Calendar meals that can be popped into the oven or microwave while I am doing paperwork, returning phone calls or emails. Packaged lunch meat, smoke sausage, bacon, sausage patties, bbq, frozen waffles, boxed cereal (this is non-negotiable for the youngest teen)...etc., etc., etc. the list goes on.

What does this all mean? It means that I won't be visiting the middle of the grocery store anymore. Dairy, produce and meat aisles will be it. Oh, except for that one box of cereal for Corey and the bag of pretzels that Jeff has to have. It means using the bread machine every couple of days and learning to cut straight slices of bread. It means roasting a whole chicken for dinner and eating chicken sandwiches for lunch. It means cooking on a daily basis. Or cooking bigger meals and having leftovers later in the week. It means no processed baked goods and getting out those recipes I have been keeping for years if we want a coffee cake. No Oreos, no Doritoes, no frozen pizza.

It might be a little expensive to start because, well, it's winter. Not much in the way of fresh produce other than what the grocery store offers for another month or so. I need to check with my local farmers and see what is available. I might be pleasantly surprised.  I do have local beef in the freezer so that's a money saver and after hearing about what is being found in chicken I don't think the prices being asked for organic chicken will EVER be too much anymore.

This week's grocery list will go something like this.....
Fruit: strawberries (FL berries are in the stores now), blueberries, oranges (squeeze our own juice), squashes, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic and peppers
Meat: organic chicken 2
Dairy: milk, cream, yogurt, butter, eggs, cheese
Grocery:  olive oil, bread flour, yeast, tea bags, apple cider vinegar, coffee, cereal and pretzels

Ketchup, mustard, pnut butter and salad dressing will stay in the house to keep the peace. I think they will like my homemade salad dressing though once they try it. The one huge thing we're giving up is the Crystal Light drink powders. You know the ones I am talking about! Every flavor under the sun and it makes the water taste SO MUCH BETTER. Well, have you seen what's in that stuff? I can't even pronounce half of the ingredients. So, that means if someone wants something other than milk, tea or water than they'll have to BYOB because it won't be in the house.

I could go on and on about this for a while. Long story short....it will be good for us. It will become the norm for the next six weeks and hopefully from here on out. Now, I hope all the tomatoes I froze and canned last fall don't run out too fast. :)


Nancy B said...

Great idea Michelle...I have sort of been trying to do more on my own....it does take time and energy (the energy is my problem!) One question I have, what are you gonna do with anything you have already in the pantry and freezer? Are you gonna do any canned goods? Hmmm, gives me something to aim for altho I don't know how hubby would feel about not having his chips with lunch! LOL Good Luck, I will look forward to hearing your progress and how those boys handle it :)

Virginia Mayer said...

Great idea! Two things will surprise you: First, how much better you all will feel within a month. Second, you will actually save money by the end of six weeks. I found I shopped smarter,bought more organics, and thought out menus in advance using what was available.It takes some getting use to,especially when you are busy, but the gains will convince you to never go back. Good luck!

mkred said...

Even the items you are still buying, you can make best choices. All natural or organic peanut butter is way better than standard brand stuff. Read the labels. Sourdough pretzels often use less ingredients than other types of pretzels. I'm sure you are familiar with these facts but don't give up, eating less processed or better processed foods is worth the effort. I hope these choices you are making extend way beyond Lent.